I am struggling with the Buddhist way of accepting something, someone. I love to discuss politics or religion with people. The thing is, the Buddhists are right in that these discussions serve no purpose. Plus Buddhist learn to accept other people as they are. That is very hard to do. I’ve only become aware of how many judgmental thoughts enter my head every minute. Each time a car pulls out in front of me. That guy’s not really a jerk, he just misjudged your speed. You’ve done it too. I’m sure you have. You walk past a person and think things like: christ what an outfit. That sort of thing. That guy drives like a jerk, that kid looks like a trouble maker. Only they’re actually little flashes of judgmental thinking. It’s very hard not to judge people as they go by, size them up, Society says we can’t just look at each other and say good morning. Instead we pass each other each of us thinking, “she dresses funny.”
So I’m working on that, and have to stop myself innumerable times a day. I take some pride in knowing how Buddhists remain so calm and quiet, nothing bothers them. I know a man who is like this naturally. People think him odd. Some think he’s unfriendly.
Why do people argue politics and religion? I do (currently) because people say you shouldn’t (and religious fanatics are dangerous). It’s been sort of a a naughty delight for me to hear what other people think, and then think, ” How can they think that way? They’re wrong.” The only purpose these discussions take place is in an effort to prove that the other party is wrong. Conversion is what these discussions are all about. An attempt to get the other person to agree with you. You both pull out quotes, cite statistics, to prove your point.
Now I know why I shouldn’t discuss god or politics. Not because people get hot around the collar, but because it is useless, and (as I think the Dalai Lama said) “It does not further.” Why do I think I will change your mind? Why would you? Why should you? But I have to accept that the other person is as right as I am. I also have to not care if the other guy thinks he just won the argument. I know one thing for sure, you will never change that person’s mind any more than he would change yours. After all, each of you is correct. Why not agree you are both right and move on.
So I’m changing my ways, trying to be gentle in everything I do, but when life intrudes I find I am still as argumentative and defensive as ever. How do I become that gentle person?
I promise not to discuss religion or politics with people-even if they are wrong.I will not forward Atheistic material-even though I think Atheists need to remove that stigma.
I will try not to judge people’s hair style, clothing choice, etc.-even if I come up with a funny put-down.
I will do my best to learn to accept.
The other side of trying to change is my desire to move to Seattle, even though my husband is strongly against it. This seems like I have to put my own feelings aside. That my opinion or my desires do not count. Do I accept that as well? I It would seem to go against everything I am trying to do. I think I might be able to accept not moving to Washington, if we settle in Long Beach or similar. But we can’t abandon Tom. So here I am looking for 3 bedroom apartment in Long Beach. Nothing will have changed except our address. I feel like a snake chasing his own tail.
I think going to a Buddhist retreat would do me good. Sort of speed up this process of acceptance since I will have someone to guide me. There is a Buddhist temple not too far from here. I think I will go down and visit it. I will go to the meditation at least twice a week (that means tomorrow and Friday!), and finish reading my book on meditation.
All of this to become a better person, for if I don’t improve myself, how can I hope to improve the world?